Broadcasting Breaking News

This week our annual news project, Nyhetsprosjektet, started at school. It’s a cool project that involves the TV-production class and journalism class working together to create a multi platform news broadcaster. Through our website, NettavisaUllandhaug.no we’ll publish news like an online newspaper. In addition we’ll have regular live streaming of web-based radio and TV.

The TV-production students are responsible for the TV webcast from the studio as well as producing news segments to be part of the webcast. The journalism student act as reporters and journalists on all platforms.

In the preparations for the project I, along with one other, served as technical manager. Our job was to set up all the technical equipment, ensure it was connected correctly and working as intended. Interesting and educational job. As the project started however, I took on a less technical job (still consulting the current TM at times though, as I knew the set-up).

The set-up in the control room we use (titles and job description may vary from production to production or studio to studio, but this is how we do it)  consist of the following crew: One sound engineer, one script (responsible for scripting the show, keeping track of the progress of the production and news segments in production and gathering information like time, names of people etc. and running the teleprompter. Basically this position gathers several jobs that may be split on a larger production) one graphic coordinator, on technical manager (also responsible for video playback and vision engineering) and a Producer (combined vision mixer and television director). The control room crew is all second year students. In addition we have three camera operators and a light assistant, all first year students.

From Monday to Wednesday my job was Script. An interesting and very busy job. Today and tomorrow I’m the producer. It’s not as busy as script so that’s why I have time to write this. From next week I’m in the segment production group, meaning I’ll be serving as a camera man or video journalist producing news segments.

Anyway, you can check out the previous webcasts on our website, NettavisaUllandhaug.no or Vimeo. If you want to watch it live, we’ll be broadcasting on this link at 17.00 from Monday to Friday the next weeks.

Steadicam Fun

Today was an interresting day at school. We were given instructions on how to work with Steadicams and got to try it out.

Not surprising the Steadicam steadied the shots quite a bit, and not surprising the rigs can be quite heavy. We used the smallest version, the Steadicam Pilot. Excellent for smaller cameras and DSLR-rigs. Not to heavy and you could get some sweert shots with it. We also tried a larger, home made and heavier version. It was designed for large shoulder and studio cameras. As it was home made it was made of aluminium and not carbon fiber, hence it was a bit heavier than the original rigs. None the less, great fun! I’ll probably borrow the Pilot rig sometime and have some more fun with it and try to get the hang of it some more.

Our instructor also showed this really amazing and funny video from the broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s taking Steadicam operating to a new level! Truly amazing! Check it out:

Brassers

Tomorrow my class is covering Siddis Brass, a national brassband competition held in Stavanger, for the national broadcaster NRK. As a class project we’ll produce a live webcast from the event. We’ve produced stuff like this before and starting to get the hang of it, so I think we’ll we okey. The challange is the fact that this live webcast we’ll last more than 10 hours, from 08.30 to about 19.30. That’s going to be interesting.

I was originally going to be handeling the video mixing for this, but since I could not get off work this saturday, I’ll be camera instead. We have two camera crews, one for the moring, and one for the afternoon due to the duration of the broadcast.

So I’ll be shooting brass bands for 5 hours tomorrow. Let’s hope there’s some good music at least.

Here’s a link to the live broadcast for anyone interested.

 

Showtime!

Today started with caos. I was up pretty early and somehow I managed to take the wrong bus to campus. Unfortunatley this bus went straight out on the highway and didn’t stop for 15 minutes. So, I arrived a little late. I was really happy about setting everything up yesterday. The set up today was quick and easy, so my late arrival didn’t hinder the production.

Control RoomFirst we shot a test. It went pretty bad. Mostly because the cameracrew had not seen the show and had no idea what was happening. After a quick de-brief we were ready for the actual production. This time everything went smooth. Nice images and mixing. Everything was under control. Until the screen went pixels that is. A little misunderstanding lead to us running out of tape and we lost the last minutes of the show. Luckily, we did tape the test and we did run a recording on a camera holding a total shot, so I think we’ll be OK with just a little editing.

Child’s play

Today I spent the entire day rigging for a production at school. We’re shooting a play the drama students at school are performing for local school children.

Being director/producer I had a busy day today, making shure everything was set and ready to go for shooting tomorrow morning. Now normally this wouldn’t be too much work, but our group got a different location than the others forcing us to produce the show a bit different. See, the drama students stages and our TV-studio at school are located close. So when producing something on a drama stage, we can just pull out some extra feet of cables and run the show from our studio control room. Our group, however is going to shoot a show being held in a different building on campus. So we could not use any of our studio equipment at all.

The solution was to pull oOur temporary control roomut some Panasonic HPX 301 and 371 cameras, connect them to a portable mixer with SDI and hook up two monitors we got from the editing suites. Then we used some old com-system we found laying in storage and set it up. It felt like we were running around raiding the school for equipment to use.

Another problem was to find a room where we could set up the video and sound mixers, a temporary control room. We actually considered setting it up in the hallway outside the room we were shooting in, but this would be far from ideal. We ended up however with a quite good solution; the room right across the hall. It was some kind of music room with loads of guitars and pianos and music instruments in it. Anyway, no one was using it, it was big and after contacting the right people we also got a key. Perfect!

Now I just hope everything still works tomorrow morning.